Whenever people ask me the thing I consider the most important in my daily life/workout/practice or the thing I do everyday, my answer is always a “connecting-in” practice. Connecting-in is so crucial to me in order to feel good, calm and relaxed — feelings, I’m always trying to cultivate.
When I’ve “connected-in,” things don’t affect me as much. I react less quickly, I fully listen to what people are saying and respond thoughtfully and intuitively.
As I was I traveling last week, my connecting-in practice fizzled a bit. I was still practicing kundalini most days and doing some sort of movement exercise, but I wasn’t really taking the time to feel how I was feeling and properly calm my mind, like I typically do. I also wasn’t taking the time to write after I practiced, which I normally do.
I felt disconnected to myself. I also felt fear feelings creeping in. I began, far more than I normally do, questioning what I was doing. I started to feel a bit more anxious about money and my bank account. I also, towards the end of the week, felt myself reacting quicker to situations and things people would say. For example, my new cell phone wasn’t functioning properly the day before I was leaving New Orleans, and this deeply frustrated me. I was SO annoyed about having to call Verizon and deal with them. This was a nothing situation, but it really pissed me off. Typically, when I’m connected in, this situation would not have made me so aggravated.
On the flight back to London, I did some reflecting – why did I feel so disconnected? I had the best time in New Orleans with Emily, her new husband and my family. It was so nice being home, but I was feeling emotions of confusion and fear. Was it because I was exhausted? Perhaps partially.
On the plane I read some of the book I’ve been reading, The Universe Has Your Back, by Gabby Bernstein. Doing that started to make me feel better. I felt myself release some fear and some of the anxious feelings I felt creeping in. “Lead from a place of love. Our capacity to tune in to the energy of love gives us the words we need when we’re ready to speak up, the compassion we need when it’s time to forgive and the power we need when we are lost.” “Live in love. Love casts out all fear.” I needed these words. In these fear based instances or moments when I felt frustrated or anxious or confused, I needed to be choosing love and showing up with grace.
Last night I continued reading, The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, another book I am currently reading, and that made me feel better again. I gleaned a major lesson from just reading a few pages, and a lesson I so needed at that current moment. “You can free yourself from your mind.” The book suggests that you start listening to the voice in your head and paying attention to repetitive thought patterns. It says listen to the voice, but do not judge it. It says that the act of listening to your thoughts/the voice, will make you aware of it and you’ll also become aware of yourself listening to it and watching it. This process – listening and watching – will bring in a new dimension of consciousness. This consciousness, according to the book, will put an end to involuntary and compulsive thinking. It will bring you to a “no-mind” realm where you have the ability to be conscious without thought.
Tolle suggests that you start bringing more awareness of the present moment into your life — bringing conscious presence to everyday activities that we do unconsciously. This is something I very much want to bring into my life — being present, and not indulging in thinking, when doing everyday tasks such as showering, washing my hands, brushing my teeth, even cooking. Rather than thinking about what I have to accomplish that day, I can, instead, be present in the moment — just be present now. It will help me get through hectic days and instances when fear thoughts creep in, and this lesson majorly could have assisted me while traveling.
This morning, I went to a hot yoga class that was calming and detoxifying and I felt my body begin to release. I could literally feel my brain calming down. The savasana was one of the best savasanas I’ve felt in a long time. I completely allowed my body to melt into the ground. It felt so nice.
When I got home from yoga, I did Nabhi Kriya, a kriya I’ve decided to practice for 40 days. Following the kriya, I’m writing this. I feel SO much better.
What I’m recognizing is how important the practice of connecting-in is. All of the above activities, are exercises I consider a part of my “connecting-in” practice. I already knew it was crucial in my life, but now, after traveling, I recognize it even more.
The lesson — when I’m traveling and in an environment different than what I’ve become accustomed to, I must give myself time to “connect-in” and take note of how I’m feeling. If I don’t, I risk putting myself on the wrong path due to fear and other chaotic feelings the out-of-touch mind is bringing forward. I also must give myself time to myself. Maybe this means getting up early in the morning to practice a kriya and journal how I feel or reading a few pages of an insightful book.
What I know for sure is, I much prefer the person I am when I’m connected-in. What I also know is, I love to travel and be around family and have new, exciting experiences. Therefore, I must find ways to have both. As I travel in the future, and am in situations that feel a bit chaotic, I have to find ways to connect-in and strategies to cope. I will keep you updated as I develop personal practices to remain in my zen in the midst of changing environments.
Lessons from my “connecting-in” practices:
- Choose love over fear
- Just be present now
- Listen to your thoughts (that voice in your head). Pay attention to repetitive patterns.
- Really experience what you are doing. Take in the experience rather than let your mind wander or worry about the past or future.